LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Lake Placid and New York State’s north country region showcased its charm and provided a stunning backdrop this January when the region played host to the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games. From January 12-22, 1,417 collegiate athletes, from 46 nations and 536 universities competed in 12 winter sports and 85 medal events throughout Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Wilmington, North Creek, Canton and Potsdam.
The FISU World University Games, the largest multi-sports and educational event for collegiate athletes between the ages of 17-25, brought international attention to New York State’s north country region and highlighted its capabilities to host large-scale international events, while boosting tourism and economic development.
“When organizing an event of this kind at an international level it is paramount to address evolving modern cybersecurity challenges to ensure that athletes can remain solely focused on training and competition,” said Ashley Walden, Executive Director of the Adirondack Sports Council, the Organizing Committee for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games. “We were fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Microsoft in accomplishing this goal.”
Lake Placid has a rich history in international sport as host to two Olympic Winter Games, in 1932 and 1980 as well as the 1972 FISU World University Games winter edition. Organizing international competitions requires teamwork and cooperation at many levels, including advanced technology and cybersecurity. With the increased dependence on technology, the risks of cybersecurity threats are on the rise, making it essential to have robust security measures in place. Any breach in security not only disrupts the event but also puts the safety and privacy of participants and others at risk.
To help address these challenges, the organizers of the Games looked to Microsoft.
“Microsoft New York State team reached out to us to offer assistance when they discovered we were setting up the network for the Games,” said Jared Humiston, Head of Technology for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games Organizing Committee. “We were already taking advantage of the Microsoft 365 Non-profit program, which provides access to various products and services to charitable and nonprofit organizations. As part of their efforts, the New York team offered additional technology and advanced security capabilities,” added Humiston, who was instrumental in deploying and overseeing all technical and cybersecurity efforts for the Games.
The technical team implemented Microsoft Advance Security and Microsoft Sentinel solutions to protect against and stay ahead of potential threats to the Games.
“Sentinel was a great product for us. We needed to get something up and running quickly, for centralized visibility across the network, and Sentinel was able to provide it in minutes,” Humiston remarked.
Microsoft has a long history of supplying a wide range of technology solutions and services to global events such as the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup and Academy Awards. Microsoft also supports companies involved with the Olympics, including longtime U.S. broadcaster NBC. For the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, it was especially important to Dhani Abey, cybersecurity lead for the State of New York, to offer these services to contribute to the overall success of the event.
“As the cybersecurity lead for Microsoft New York, it was my duty to deliver on the Microsoft promise to empower every person and organization involved in the Games,” said Abey. “As an American, it was an honor to play a small part in protecting the technology that enables such an important global event.”
The organizers and their partners were committed to the technology and innovation necessary to deliver a safe, world-class event. This resulted in success for many nations and athletes who participated in the Games. Japanese athletes combined to win 48 medals during the event, while the Republic of Korea finished second with 29. France came away with18 medals and finished third overall, while the United States enjoyed its best-ever FISU World University Games, claiming 17 medals and finishing fourth, overall. Microsoft’s partnership was critical to making that experience possible.
About the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games:
The FISU World University Games is the largest winter multi-sport collegiate athletic event in the world. In 2018, Lake Placid was selected to host the 2023 FISU World University Games Winter. New York State was proud to host these Games and showcase New York and the North Country to an international audience.